Tuesday, February 18, 2014

For Those Who Walk By Faith

I had planned to do a couple more advocacy posts this week, but my heart wasn't really in it.  There's been some bad times in the adoption community in the last few weeks.  To the point it is becoming what feels like an epidemic.  The first four children listed here http://reecesrainbow.org/background/in-loving-memory all had families coming for them.  All of them have died in the last few weeks.  Merry from completely unexpected cancer, Hero from complications during a heart surgery, Zoey from the effects of prolonged malnutrition, and I'm not sure why Royce has passed away.  Earlier this month, a family was leaving in a matter of days to pick up their sweet daughter who had a complex heart condition, when they learned she had passed away.

A few months ago, this sweet girl who lives in our son's orphanage, a sweetheart also named Zoe, died of complications from the same special need that Wayne has, Beta Thalassemia Major.  I saw this heartbreaking video a couple of days before we committed to Wayne.  http://player.vimeo.com/video/84119784  It's so hard to know what Wayne thought when she passed away.  I am not sure if he knew.  I'm not sure if he even knew she suffers from the same thing that he does.  I don't know if he's aware that is how she died.  I don't know if he's scared that the same thing might happen to him.  I really don't know how they handle the death of children in their group.  This sweet girl did have a family trying to come to her, but they didn't make it in time.    

Typically, when you see a string of deaths in the orphan community, you're dealing in children who did not have a family coming.  There's not a single child of whom I am aware in the last few weeks that did not have a family waiting and working with all that they had to bring their children home.

A friend who is not adopting was with me at the time when I discover the news about sweet Sophia, the baby daughter of the family who was leaving in just days to rescue Sophia and get her the heart surgeries she desperately needed.  It must be a very bitter pill to know that if you had just been a little faster, maybe things would have been different.  I believe that to be the fear of many adoptive parents.  That they just won't be fast enough, to get that needed surgery, to beat that flu outbreak in the orphanage, to get that baby the food he so desperately needs.  Whatever the case, the fear is that it won't be enough.  Fast enough.  Money enough.  Work enough.  That they will fall short in the most horrific way possible.  It's my belief, I should say, that God knows and directs whether or not we are fast enough.  That there's nothing we can say in the death of a child who had a family coming when they've done all in their power to go and do.  It's a cold comfort, but a comfort none the less.  Of course, this does not excuse the would be parents that never come forward and their would have been children die alone.  That may or may not have been avoidable through the love of a family.

The friend I was speaking to at the time I saw the news about Sophia asked what her special need was.  I explained that I wasn't sure of every detail, but that she had a very complicated heart defect, possibly more than one, and that her health was precarious.  The friend was saddened that this family wasn't aware how sick their daughter was.  At which point, I explained that in fact, they did know.  Many families know.  They step forward in faith, knowing that the risk is always there that they will not make it in time.  That their beloved child may not be able to continue walking on such a long and hard journey of life.

I informed her that, like Zoe in the video above, the girl who died from complications from Thal, our son has every potential of going downhill fast.  We knew that when we committed to him.  The doctor who looked at his file told us that he would likely not make it through 2014 unless he got American medical care.  We stepped into this situation fully aware that Wayne is medically fragile, just like the other families largely did.  Some of them were surprises that the children didn't make it.  But the rest knew what they were getting into and started their journey walking by faith.

Her response did not include the words 'deserve it', but they did make it clear that if a parent steps forward to adopt a child they know is ill, they are getting what they signed up for if the child then passes away.  This may be true.  But, as you can see since we ourselves have chosen to walk this very path, we believe that all children deserve a chance.  Even the ones who are sick.  They've been denied so much, should they be denied even the chance to have a healthy life?

Almost immediately after this rash of children passed away, we started getting emails from a connection to Wayne's orphanage letting us know that it would appear he has taken a turn for the worse.  We don't know what that means exactly.  Last we heard, he was in the hospital.  He could be out by now.  He could be tanking even more.  It's so hard to know when they are 8,000 miles away.  Over the past couple of days in communication with people about his condition, scared out of my mind for him, freaking out about why my homestudy is taking so long, and wondering how we can get our hands on more money, I had a moment where I just felt sick, thinking, what are we doing?  What if he doesn't make it?  What if his little body can't hold on until we can get him the medical care that we need?  What if he dies?

If the worst happens, God willing it won't be an issue, would we wish we hadn't chosen him?

It only took me a second to have the answer firm in my heart.  If he were to pass away, I can't pray enough that this does not happen, I would have chosen him anyway.  And I suspect you would find that the parents of Merry, Zoe, Hero, Royce, Sophia and Zoey would say the same if we looked deep into their hearts.  So for those who walk by faith that God wants us to take chances and give chances even when things look grim, I salute you.

For those who are on the fence, I say follow your heart.  Maybe a sick child is not for you.  There are many other special needs out there.  But if a child whose life is in danger speaks to your soul, reach out and take a chance.  They will never get any better in China, or Ukraine, or Bulgaria.  Their only chance is here.  Their only chance is us.

And if you have some spare prayers, please pray for our son WeiQiang (Wayne), who is a very sick little boy and needs every prayer he can get.



  1. I'm so sorry, Amber. We are with you 100%. Praying for your little man right now.

  2. Thank you so much Crystal! Today he is feeling a bit better and out of the hospital. The problem is that China has only one course of treatment and some children, like Wayne, don't respond as well as others do to that treatment. He really needs innovation and to try some different courses. We can't wait to get him home!